Thursday, April 29, 2010

Draft Strategery

The 2010 CFL Draft is almost upon us and before I get into how I see the draft playing out, I have to ask once again that you read the following disclaimer regarding my thoughts on the draft…

The Rider Prophet is not, nor does he pretend to be, a scout or anything resembling someone that can tangibly evaluate football skill. He is merely an opinionated bigot who feels as though he can predict the future based on his highly biased view of Canadian Football and life in general. Any thoughts or predictions contained in the following may not actually be based on anything factual and are a product of the 15 minutes Prophet spent following the CIS this past season. Rider Prophet Media is not responsible for any falsehoods, fabrications, fairytales or outright libel contained herein. Furthermore, Rider Prophet Media is not responsible for any injuries, sexually transmitted diseases or spontaneous combustion that results from reading this material.

Now that we’ve got that cleared up here’s a team by team breakdown in terms of Canadian talent heading into the draft.

First Pick:
2nd Overall (Round 1)
# of Picks: 4
Solid Canadian talent across the board most of which is still fairly young. The best group of Canadian receivers in the league, a bona-fide starting CB (along with 2 capable back-ups) and an O-line featuring talent both young and old.
We currently only have 2 NI LBs. Mike McCullough is getting up there and Aaron Wagner was such a good linebacker that we converted him to a FB, so obviously priority #1 is linebackers. Riders likely have their eyes set on landing one (or both) of Cory Greenwood and Shomari Williams. Though not an imminent need, we could also use another defensive tackle and there are 2 promising DT prospects in this draft (Buckle, Steele). Given how solid the Riders NI talent is, expect them to use one of their 1st rounders on a player with a year of college eligibility left (such as Bulcke or even Danny Watkins).


First Pick:
1st Overall (Round 1)
# of Picks: 9
I was shocked to find out that the Argos (a team who is notorious for not placing any importance on the NI talent) have 35 Canadians on their roster. But it is definitely a case of quantity over quality because next to none of them are any good. Drafting is clearly not Adam Rita’s strength (though I couldn’t tell you what his strength is).

Needs: The Argos defense wasn’t all that bad last year so they should focus on the offensive side of the ball this draft. Also they need results now so they don’t have the luxury of using picks on players who can’t make an immediate impact. With 3 of the top 11 picks I’d look for them to take an OL like Joe Eppele, an impact receiver like Shawn Gore or the speedster Steven Turner (who could be used as a returner) and maybe a DL prospect to complement the #1 pick last year Etienne Legare. They are also rumoured to be interested in Rob Maver.


First Pick:
7th Overall (Round 1)
# of Picks: 4
Strengths: Doug Brown and Brendan Labatte are among the tops at their respective positions… but it gets pretty shaky after that.
Doug Brown can’t play forever so they should be looking to bring in an understudy. Should also probably be looking for an LB and an impact receiver… not just the glorified route runners they currently have. We’ll see if LaPo learned anything about the value of Canadian talent while he was here. But with only 1 pick in the first 3 rounds, he’ll pretty much have to be content with his current Canadians (something I’m sure he curses on a daily basis).


First Pick:
3rd Overall (Round 1)
# of Picks: 9
What was once among the best group of Canadians has been steadily dwindling. Big names like Paris Jackson, Brent Johnson and Angus Reid are still there and they have added Sanchez but they are all getting older and the cast around them is definitely not stepping up. They have a couple promising RBs in Lee and Harris, and a great special teamer in Araki.

Needs: They are extremely thin at LB so I expect them to try and use their 3rd overall pick on whichever LB the Riders don’t take at #2. Also, if they are planning on starting the newly acquired Davis Sanchez, they should be in the market for a NI corner to back him up (a guy like Taurean Allen comes to mind). They could also use another receiver since O’Neil Wilson is getting any younger… or less useless.

First Pick:
10th Overall (Round 2)
# of Picks: 5
Strengths: None really. Part of that has to do with not having a first round pick since 2007… and using that ’07 first rounder to draft a kicker (Maciocia you genius). Outside of Prefontaine all they really have is a collection of marginal at best Canadians (Gordon, Glatt, Norwacki etc) and a couple players that could be really good… if they weren’t a fulltime member of the injured reserve (Lumsden, Braidwood).
They only have 7 NI O-linemen under contract so they should probably think about drafting a couple of those. They should also be looking to nab a D-linemen to fill in for the 17 games Braidwood won’t play as well as maybe a DB.

First Pick:
13th Overall (Round 2)
# of Picks: 3
With Stala, Bauman, Carter and Nicholson they have a pretty solid group of receivers (high in potential though largely unproven). Barker and Beveridge have them fairly solid at safety. They gave up this year’s 1st rounder to take Zac Carlson in last year’s supplemental draft and also took Simeon Rottier #1 in the regular draft so I don’t see them going after another OL.
The signing of DeAngeles leaves them in need of a punter. Outside of safety they are also somewhat thin in terms of Canadian defenders. Problem is they only have 3 picks (only 1 of which is in the top 25) so their options are fairly limited. I could see them taking a DL or LB with their 2nd rounder and hoping to land a punter like Chris Bodnar or Grant Shaw in the 4th round.

First Pick:
6th Overall (Round 1)
# of Picks: 6
They have fairly solid NI talent on offense. Good receivers, a couple good RBs and a pretty solid O-line (well at least they used to have one).
Offseason departures have left some big holes. Losing the league’s most accurate (and annoying) kicker is something that will require immediate attention. Also, the O-line may be good but they are also getting old and losing depth. Tsoumpas’ departure and Pilon’s retirement really compound that problem. Thus O-line and placekicking are priority #1. They are very interested in Rob Maver, the question becomes are they desperate enough to use a 1st rounder on him. History has shown it to be overspending to use a 1st rounder on a kicker but with Hamilton in need of a punter (and the rumoured interest of the Argos’ in Maver) it may force the Stamps hand. If they decide to hold off and try for Maver in the 2nd round then they will probably draft an OL in the first round.

First Pick:
8th Overall (Round 1)
# of Picks: 7
Along with the Riders they are the cream of the crop in terms of NI talent. They field an all Canadian OL which is among the best in the league, Cahoon is still playing at a high level, Proulx and Boulay leave them solid at safety, they play a young Canadian at MLB, they don’t have any immediate needs.
Succession planning. Though it doesn’t look like it right now, at some point elite talents like Chui, Flory and Cahoon will pack it in (likely as part of a mass exodus led by Calvillo). Though they have a couple young OLs they will need some more to maintain their all Canadian line. Also, they do not have any good receivers to back up Cahoon and are thin at LB so they will be looking to address both of those. Als are in a position to draft the best player available… and as always will be required to draft a least a couple French players lest they be accused of being traitors.

Anyway, enough
rambling, here’s how I see the first couple rounds going down…

Round 1
1 –
Toronto LB Shomari Williams
2 –
Saskatchewan LB Cory Greewood
3 –
BC OL Joe Eppele
4 –
Saskatchewan DL Brian Bulcke
5 –
Hamilton – Forfeited
6 –
Calgary – K Rob Maver
7 –
Winnipeg DL Eddie Steele

8 – Montreal OL Danny Watkins

Round 2

1 – Toronto – OL John Bender

2 – Edmonton – DL Chima Ihekwoaba

3 – BC – DB Taurean Allen

4 – Toronto – WR Steve Turner

5 – Hamilton – LB Joash Gesse

6 – Calgary – OL Joel Reinders

7 – Montreal – WR Shawn Gore

8 – Montreal – DL Bruno Lapointe

Don’t forget to tune in Sundayfor my
3rd Annual Live Draft Day Blogging.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Monday Morning Sentimonies: Draft Day Approaches

Drafting is the hot topic in football right now. The NFL Draft was last week and the CFL Canadian College Draft goes this Sunday. For those of you that follow both leagues you have no doubt observed a few minor differences in the two drafts. The NFL Draft is a star-studded primetime media event spanning 3 days featuring a myriad of media coverage and expert analysis. The CFL Draft is a brief conference call between CFL GMs early on a Sunday. The results of that call are relayed to viewers by a figure skating commentator and analyzed by the only man in the world who seems to know anything about the Canadian Draft… Duane Ford. You also won’t find the formality and class of the NFL Draft in the CFL Draft… we Canadians prefer a much more relaxed and informal affair where GMs are free to make their selections from the bathroom (as Don Matthews has done). Lastly, unlike the NFL, you won’t find any live video of recently drafted players… the CFL stopped that practice a few years back after they awkwardly ended up airing video coverage of a grave after Ottawa drafted its occupant.

Other than these minor differences though, both drafts are pretty much the same.

As usual, I will be providing live draft coverage so join me for my 3rd Annual Live Draft Day Blogging. Follow along with the Prophet’s uncensored, unedited, largely incoherent commentary and arbitrary player endorsements taking you from the 1st pick right up until I change the channel to a station featuring infomercials and randomly segue into live blogging about those.

Some draft boards may have been rearranged a bit in the wake of the NFL Draft. While no Canadian prospects were drafted a number of top prospects did sign NFL deals: OL Joel Reinders (signed with Cleveland), OL Kristian Matte (signed with Texas), WR Jordan Sisco (invited to camp with Indy), WR Shawn Gore (invited to camp with Green Bay), DL Chima Ihekwoaba (invited to camp with Detroit) WR Steven Turner (invited to camp with Chicago) and LB Cory Greenwood is apparently in negotiations with Kansas City. While all of these players will still be drafted on Sunday they may slip down a few spots as a result. I’ll have more pre-draft analysis later in the week.

In Rider news…

- A newspaper article in the Wall Street Journal featured a story that indicated that our own Tad Kornegay says that half his teammates smoke marijuana. Kornegay has since clarified that what he actually said was that half of athletes in general smoke pot. My concern over this is not that Riders may be smoking pot but rather that the Wall Street Journal (one of the more pre-eminent papers) actually considers this news. Seriously have they been living under a rock?

- With Graham Harrell out of the picture, the Riders are looking to sign another QB. One name that keeps popping up is Ryan “James Johnson ruined my life” Dinwiddie… seriously. What Dinwiddie lacks in important areas such as skill and experience, he more than makes up for in the “was once a Blue Bomber” area that our GM highly values. My running theory was that Taman made the mistake of looking into Dinwiddie’s eyes and had his soul stolen

and Dinwiddie would only return it in exchange for a contract. But then I reasoned that if he did somehow come to possess Taman’s soul it probably would have just inadvertently ended up in James Johnson’s possession, so that theory was out the window.

CFL Ins and Outs


In: RB Jhamal Fluellen (free agent signing)

Never heard of the guy but the fact that he randomly inserts an unneeded H in his first name has already given me concerns about him.


Out: OL Jeff Pilon (retired)

A big loss for a Calgary O-line that has already lost Dmitri Tsoumpas to the NFL. But for the rest of us this could be a good thing as it could spell the end of the patented Stampeder O-line side boob parade. Tsoumpas and Pilon were major proponents of the side boob. With their departure and the uncertainty surrounding fellow prominent side boob displayer Rob Lazeo (due to age and injuries) this could mark a return to normal (non vomit educing) jerseys along the O-line. I know it’s not likely but we can always hope.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Graham Harrell We Hardly Knew Ye

Surprising news out of Riderville yesterday as the team announced that Graham Harrell had been released. While details are sketchy at this point as to why he was let loose, according to Ken Miller he “preferred not to stay with us”. Whether that means he doesn’t want to be in the CFL anymore or just doesn’t want to be with the Riders remains to be seen.

Basically the whole situation boils down to the fact that Tillman recruited him aggressively and Harrell obviously came up here with the goal of starting. What Harrell didn’t count on was Durant emerging as a top QB and Tillman parting ways with the Riders (though given that Tillman had already been charged before Harrell signed that one shouldn’t have been all that surprising). So now Harrell is stuck behind the youngest bonafide starter in the league and his biggest supporter has left town. Obviously he is not content settling for a backup role so he asked to be released.

Actually Eric Tillman has provided an explanation of the whole Harrell saga that sums things up pretty nicely (including his request to be traded last season). You can check it out here.

My reaction is fairly mixed on this development. Obviously Harrell, given his amazing college career, had great potential and losing that kinda sucks. But it’s not like we are in dire need of a QB right now and Harrell’s “me first” attitude doesn’t fit well with our current team anyways. As Taman said, “if there's someone who's not happy here, we won't have them here”… good lord! I can’t believe I just quoted Taman to make a point. This is a pretty low point for me. What’s next? Using James Johnson film to demonstrate proper defensive techniques? … though that would assume that film actually exists of Johnson using proper defensive techniques.

In less surprising news, the Riders simultaneously announced that Eric Morris had also been released. I say less surprising because the only reason we signed Morris in the first place was because he was a buddy of Harrell’s and it was part of Tillman’s plan to lure Harrell north… yes, surprising as it may seem, it was not his awe inspiring kick returning skills that earned him a contract here. With Harrell out of the picture we really had no more use for Morris who had proven to be a marginal player at best in his limited playing time… not to mention I don’t know if his knee had fully healed from last year anyway.

Other Random Musings…

- The 2010 CFL Hall of Fame weekend will be held here in Saskatchewan this year. This will of course be highlighted by the induction of Rider great Don Narcisse… and hopefully further highlighted by a hall of fame-worthy Narco celebration dance.

- The league has approved 4 rule changes for the upcoming season. The most notable of which is teams will now be required to attempt a 2 point convert in overtime after scoring a TD. As much as I am in favour of tweaking the rules for the better, given that the refs already struggle with correctly enforcing existing rules, I’m not so sure that introducing changes each year is a good idea.

- The Argos are reportedly considering blackouts for the first time in many years. While many see this a move that would have a negative impact on their fan base, I see this as a move that will positively impact it. Given how bad the Argos are likely to be, this is more an act of mercy for their fans for not subjecting them to the embarrassment of watching the Argos fail. I’m sure the fans will appreciate.

- The Montreal Canadiens should take a page out of the football strategy book and start declining penalties. They actually seem to be at a disadvantage when on the man advantage (though by the time you read this they will likely have already been eliminated from the playoffs).

CFL Ins and Outs


In: WR Geroy Simon (contract extension), OL Jason Boone, OL Jovan Olafioye, DL Dominie Pittman, LB Joe Henderson (free agent signing)
The new contract makes Simon the highest paid receiver in the league, making over $200,000. I’d worry about what kind of affect that will have on BC’s cap situation but realistically there aren’t that many other players left on that team that are worth paying so they will probably be fine.

In: LB Robert McCune, LB Jae Thaxton, DE Kenny Mainor, RB Rafael Little, WR Louis Givens (free agent signing)
I got nothing.

In: LB Rian Wallace, WR Chris Davis, WR Travis Shelton, DB Donald Brown Jr., OL Chris Kowalczuk (free agent signing)
Out: WR Vincent Marshall (cut)

So Marshall signs with Winnipeg in January and managed to get cut 3 months later without even doing anything. That’s gotta hurt.

In: WR DJ Boldin, RB Roosevelt Ross (free agent signing)
DJ Boldin is the younger brother of Anquon Boldin. Roosevelt Ross is of no relation to the Boldins… just in case you were wondering.

In: OL Clifford Louis, OL Jeremy Parquet, WR Rudy Burgess (free agent signing)
I hope Burgess makes the team purely for the RUDY chants that it will no doubt lead to.

In: WR Jeffrey Webb (free agent signing)
New year, new owner, new coach, same misguided theory that signing washed up NFLers is a good idea.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Monday Morning Sentimonies: Prophet Convention

This may come as some a surprise to you, but I am not the only Prophet in the CFL. In fact, each team has their own duly appointed Prophet. Admittedly none of them are as well renowned, successful, popular or
handsome as the Rider Prophet, but they do exist. You are likely wondering why you have never heard of the other 7 prophets before and why I have never mentioned them up until now. The reason is that, unlike myself, the other 7 like to keep a very low profile, not because I just fabricated this entire story this morning in an attempt to cover up the fact that there is very little CFL news to talk about and I needed some sort of filler material so I decided that it was far easier to just make up something to talk about than to put in the effort to come up with an actual topic. That is definitely not the reason.

Anywho, each year all the prophets get together to discuss the upcoming season and sports related propheting in general. The annual convention is a weekend full of intense discussion and debate, excessive drinking, the odd fist fight, a potato sack race and enough blasphemy to send most of the western hemisphere to hell. It is tradition at these meetings that each prophet bring a gift for the others that represents his team.

Unfortunately, three of our esteemed prophets could not attend this year for various reasons. Eskimo Prophet couldn’t make it because he’s actually an Eskimo and we had to send his invitation via dogsled so I’m not sure it has even reached him yet. Argo Prophet received his invitation but given the relative importance of football in Toronto he chose to stay in Toronto and watch the Maple Leafs spring golfing endeavors. It's really not a huge absence as Lion Prophet has taken over most of his propheting duties anyway. Bomber Prophet tried to attend but was detained at the airport. I guess in this post 9/11 era a name like Bomber Prophet raises some security concerns.

Despite the absences, the convention went ahead as planned with myself, Ti-Cat Prophet, Stampeder Prophet, Lion Prophet and le Prophète Alouette (who has reluctantly agreed to rejoin the convention after a failed attempt to separate and form his own convention).

We try to start out the convention on a positive note with the exchanging of the gifts. I brought a bottle of Wisers for everyone because whether you are drinking to celebrate or drinking to drown your sorrows, it’s a necessity for all Rider fans. Despite not attending, Argo Prophet couriered his gifts to us. Unfortunately it was the same stupid thing he gets us every year - old NFL jerseys featuring names of players that have been washed up for ages but that Argo Prophet is still enamored with for some reason. Stampeder Prophet gave us all hats that had “Calgary Stampeders Grey Cup 2010 Champions” stitched on them. Lion Prophet tried giving us Paul McCallum as his gift but we all refused to accept it which led to a heated exchange in which McCallum tried to kick me in the head but missed and inadvertently concussed the Lion Prophet who was standing to the left of me.

Once things had calmed down and Lion Prophet had received medical attention, we continued with the gift giving. Ti-Cat Prophet’s present was a private performance by the Ti-cat cheerleaders. The sheer physical repulsiveness of the ensemble led Stampeder Prophet to try and gouge his own eyes out with a fork (oddly enough none of the other Prophets attempted to stop him). The rest of us managed to cope by aggressively downing the bottles of whiskey I had gifted. Le Prophète Alouette was the last to go and announced that he wanted to give us all his famous coq au vin. Unlike myself, the other prophets are not fluent in our nation’s other official language, so they mistook Prophète’s statement and all went running for the door… well except for Stampeder Prophet who seemed strangely excited at the proposition.

As per usual the rest of the weekend was full of spirited debate, drunken shenanigans and only 2 fire related incidents (a new record low for the convention). I’m already excited for nest year, as Eskimo Prophet will be hosting the conference which means seal clubbing and inukshuk building!

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Random Quasi Coherent Thoughts: Weekend Edition

- Jason Armstead continued his yearly ritual of being arrested following an incident involving his girlfriend, a gun and a car, and subsequently being cut by his football team. Though I’ve never been a huge Armstead fan (even though he admittedly played awesome for us last year), you kind of have to feel sorry for the guy. Just imagine where his career might be if he could just avoid women, guns and cars... well and inexplicably kneeling on a kick returns too.

- In more positive Rider news, Rob Bagg signed a 2 years plus an option extension this week. Bagg is quickly developing into one of the best Canadian receivers in the game which is no small feat for someone who went undrafted. It’s amazing to think that vaunted receivers such as Greg Hetherington and Brad Smith managed to get drafted that year but Bagg did not.

- The Rider also signed LB Jim Maxwell and DL Vaalyn Jackson. Jackson spent some time on the practice roster last year while Maxwell spent the last 4 years bouncing around the NFL. I would like to get excited about this signings but having learned my lesson from my blind support of Gabe Nyenhuis last year, I will not be getting to emotionally invested in anybody until I see them in training camp.

- The Bombers made an odd move by cutting Sideeq Shabazz this week. Since arriving in Winnipeg Joe Mack and LaPo seem to be intent on dismantling the only good thing the Bombers had going for them... their D. They have now traded Gavin Walls for next to nothing and cut INT machine Lenny Walls and now impact LB (and cool name carrier) Shabazz. The defense carried that team last year and if they had had any offense at all they would have made the playoffs. Maybe its there’s something in the air in Manitoba because there seems to be a never-ending string of seemingly intelligent people who move to Winnipeg and lose their marbles... then again an intelligent person wouldn’t move to Winnipeg in the first place.

- Lastly the Ti-Cats announced that they have extended the contract of head coach Marcel Bellefeuille. If you’ve been reading this blog for a while now, you’ll know that I enjoy picking on Bellefeuille. And really, how can I not mock this guy? His “revolutionary” ball control offense led to many a futile offense in Riderville... not to mention one of the worst offensive outputs in ALs history during the brief time he was there. Heck even as OC for the Ti-cats his patented “shotgun draw, 5 yard hook and punt” method helped keep this Ti-cats stuck in the CFL’s basement. But ever since he was inexplicably promoted to Head Coach (seriously there was more compelling evidence for starting the war in Iraq than there was for promoting Marcel) he has actually managed to do well. Don’t get me wrong he still has his patented Bellefool moments... such as his misguided allegiances to Quinton Porter when clearly Kevin Glenn gives them the best chance to win. But he is actually doing a pretty good job in Hamilton and is helping them develop into a legitimate team again. It’s as if we are in some sort of bizzaro world. Though he may be doing well now I don’t see it lasting. I mean sure he did good last year and will probably do good again this year but if I know anything about Bellefeuille its that he’s likely to go 2 and out in the end.

CFL Ins and Outs

In: OL Sam Allen, OL Edwin Harrison (free agent signing)

In: DB Sammy Okpro (free agent signing)

In: DB Dave Casale, LB Shomari Earls, DB Travis Key, DE Ian Campbell (free agent signing)

In: WR Kerry Reed, WR Robert Jordan (free agent signing)

Monday, April 12, 2010

Monday Morning Sentimonies: There Is A Disturbance In LeFors

When it was first announced that Paul LaPolice had accepted the Head Coach job in Winnipeg, I was worried. The Bombers had a pretty solid defense last year and were it not for their embarrassingly abysmal offense last year they would have been a pretty good team. LaPo seemed to be just the guy to revive that offense. Problem you kind of need a QB to do it.

The new Bomber regime wasn’t willing to just hand the starters role uncontested to Stephan LeFors (ala Mike Kelly), so they went out and signed Steven Jyles to at least have some competition at the most important position (not very strong competition mind you, but competition nonetheless). And this seemed to be their master plan heading into training camp.

But a giant wrench got thrown in the plan when LeFors let it be known that he might not come to training camp unless he got a pay raise (no doubt based on his brilliant play in the 2009 season). You see, he was asked to take a pay cut last season (from $150K to $90K) because the Bombers were in financial trouble (more on that later). But now LeFors says he doesn’t want to play if he’s only getting $90K. But, if you can believe the audacity of the Bombers, they are actually expecting him to honour the binding contract he signed (go figure).

So the Bombers response to LeFors saying he won’t come to camp for $90K was to reply “okay then don’t come to camp”. Guess that plan backfired, hey Stephan?

So with LeFors unlikely to be back, the Bombers needed another QB… and for some odd reason they decided that Buck Pierce was the man they needed. Yes Buck Pierce who could be on of the great CFL QBs of this generation if it weren’t for the fact that over the last little while he’s hurt his shoulder, head, ribs, shoulder, foot, head, shoulder, head, hand and head a couple more times (though according to his agent he’s only suffered 2 concussions… rrrrrrightt and I only consume a couple drinks on game day). The competition at camp this summer will feature a fierce competition of 2 polar opposite athletes. On one side you will have a QB who has been blessed with all the physical attributes of an elite QB but none of the mental ones. On the other you will have a guy who was blessed with all the mental attributes of an elite QB but none of the physical ones. The only real winner in this is the rest of the league because the Bombers are in real trouble in terms of QB.

Most likely, Pierce will win the starters role in camp but he’ll suffer at least 3 separate injuries by game 2 and Jyles will get called into action when Pierce is inevitably put on the IR. After a few games of the Jyles experiment, LaPo will bench him due to poor performance and be forced airlift either Kerry Joseph or Michael Bishop in by Labour Day. And when faced with a choice between Bishop and Joseph, they will probably sign Bishop and then announce that they have also signed Joseph at the Bishop press conference.

In other Bomber news, Winnipeg was the only team to exceed the salary cap last season. They were over by $44,687 and will be fined an equivalent amount. This over spending probably had little or nothing to do with paying $88,000 of Dan Goodspeed’s contract only to trade him to the Ti-Cats. And likely even less to do with paying Derick Armstrong $40K, Joe Smith $40K, Matt O’Meara $20K and Ryan Dinwiddie $10K bonuses only to cut them prior to the season. And it clearly has absolutely nothing to do with $50,000 of last year’s salary budget going towards paying Milt Stegall to enjoy his retirement.

Actually come to think of it, while many are chastising the Bombers for their poor salary cap management, I think they should be commended. I mean to make that many terrible roster decisions in a single season and still only be over by a meagre $44,000 is nothing short of a miracle. Maybe our government should be offering Mike Kelly a job in the Finance Department. Then again it would be kind of embarrassing when he gets caught spying on other province’s budget development or when he publicly states that cost accounting is for amateur accountants and guys that don’t know GAAP very well.

CFL Ins and Outs


In: LB Greg Blue, DB Jeremy Unertl, K Robbie DeHaze (free agent signing), DL Ben Ishola (re-signed)

Unertl was one of the best DBs to play in NFL Europe… so I guess Adam Rita never learned anything from last year’s reliance on NFL Europe cast-offs.


In: DB Milton Collins (contract extension)


In: LB Chad Nkang, DL Jerrell Chandler, WR Terrence Jeffers-Harris (free agent signing)


Out: OL Chris Kowalczuk (released)

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Calling All Scabs

The CLPA is warning their members to prepare for a lockout. While I don’t think either side is dumb enough to the CFL can survive a lockout I guess anything is possible.

As much as I'd hate to see a lockout, I am kind of intrigued to see what scab football would look like in Canada. That got me thinking about what the roster of the “Scab Riders” would look like.

2010 Scab Riders

QB: Kerry Joseph

RB: Corey Holmes, Henri Childs, Ducarmel Augustin

WR: Matt Dominguez, Nathan Hoffart, Patrick Thibeault, Curtis Marsh, Karsten Bailey

OL: Matt O’Meara, Mike Abou-Mecherek, Andrew Greene, Charles Thomas (I can’t come up with a centre though… maybe we could find that Japanese guy from The Replacements. You know, the one that puked on the field)

DL: Dek Bake, Scott Schultz, Nate Davis, Gabe Nyenhuis

LB: Reggie Hunt, TJ Stancil (I can’t come up with a middle linebacker… at least one that could get across the border)

DB: Denatay Heard, Davin Bush, Tristan Clovis (assuming he’d been found alive), Rontarius Robinson, James Johnson

K: Mike Vanerjerk

Once again Dylan Ching is left anxiously waiting at home with his bags packed for the plane ticket that never arrives.

Thing is I’m pretty sure even this list of has-beens and never-was-beens could do better than the current roster of the Toronto Argonauts

Other Teams potential scabs include…

BC: Antonio Warren, Duncan O’Mahoney

Edm: Sean Fleming

Cal: Akili Smith

Win: Ryan Dinwiddie, Charles Roberts, Tom Canada. I’d say Milt Stegal but he’s likely still on the Bomber payroll for another 3-4 years. And of course there’s always Wade Miller.

Tor: Michael Bishop, Robert Baker, David Boston

Ham: Timmy Chang

Mtl: Ezra Landry, Jerrett Payton

Monday, April 5, 2010

Rider Prophet Confessional

As hard as it might be to believe, the Rider Prophet is not perfect. Though I am a prophet and a leader of the people, I am not without fault. I’ve done a lot of things in my life that I’m not proud of… and the things I am proud of are quite frankly disgusting. Not to mention the numerous racial and gender-based stereotypes that form the basis of my views on society.

We are taught that if we confess our transgressions we may receive forgiveness. So with that in mind I present to you a list (that is by no means comprehensive) of the wrongdoings I would like to confess…

- I once accidentally karate chopped a lady in the face while over aggressively celebrating a first down at Mosaic Stadium. Ever since, my “aisle seat” privileges have been revoked.

- I have well thought out plans of how I could get away with murder. Not because I ever intend to use them, but just in case.

- I find it funny when little children fall down or run into things (especially glass patio doors).

- In university I would choose which classes to take based on how English-sounding the professor’s last name was.

- I find myself thinking of ways to rob any casino I go into (thank you very much Ocean’s 11). The planning usually goes pretty good until it gets stuck when I determine I need a small acrobatic Asian. None of the Asian people I know could be described as small let alone acrobatic… or even Asian for that matter.

- When I’m at a bar and have to fart I always look for the nearest guy hitting on a girl and let it out while walking by them. I apologize to the many unsuspecting guys whose romantic endeavours I have ruined as a result.

- I automatically assume that every black guy I see working out at the gym is a new Rider recruit…This stereotype is perpetuated by the fact that I’m usually right.

- I always assume that the bad driver in front of me must be either old, Asian or a woman… again this stereotype is perpetuated by the fact that I’m almost always right… sometime I’m even right on all accounts and its and old Asian woman.

In the spirit of confessing, feel free to add your confessions.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Riders’ Centennial, Signings and Scouts

By now you’ve learned the drill that I don’t work on statutory holidays (as well as numerous other arbitrarily decided upon days). So I figured I’d better do up a post before shutting ‘er down for the weekend and doing what we Christians do this time of year… celebrate the day we believe Jesus rose from the dead to feast on the flesh of the living and star in the sequel to The Passion of the Christ. Now that I’ve typed enough blasphemy to secure my place in hell let’s see what’s been going on in the CFL.

- The Riders continued filling their roster for training camp adding QB Kent Smith, RB Marcus Thigpen and RB Lavarus Giles. Smith is likely just a 4th arm in training camp but you never who will shine when given a chance. I do like the fact that we are brining some competition in at RB. We need people to push Cates or even take his place if he proves not to be up to par. Thigpen spent some time here last year on the practice roster he’s a quick shifty type while Giles is a big strong power runner. I think Giles is starter material and likely would have stuck in Winnipeg last year had he not been stuck behind Fred Reid and Yvenson Bernard. If nothing else it will make things interesting in camp at a position that was clearly a weakness last year.

- Joe Womack has officially accepted the role of Director of US Scouting which is great news. I think Womack was initially hurt about being passed over for GM (and who can blame him, getting passed over for Taman is a pretty big slap in the face) but after taking some time to think about it he realized that (a) there was not much out there in terms of other offers and (b) the Riders were still an organization he wants o be a part of. Womack is a great scout and now that he can focus solely on scouting it should lead to great prospects coming our way.

- The Riders announced part of the plans to celebrate the team’s centennial year. Part of the celebrations will include the Hill Towers in Regina featuring 2 giant Rider murals. The team will also be getting a special edition loonie released from the Canadian Mint featuring the Rider logo. The Riders would be the first CFL team to get a special edition coin. Word is that Argos approached the Mint about getting a special coin for themselves but the Mint turned them down because putting an Argo logo on any coin would immediately diminish its value by 75%.

- Winnipeg’s new football stadium has got the official go-ahead this week. The government agreed to front $90M to David Aspers (who was supposed to pay for the stadium) to get construction under way ASAP. Message to the Saskatchewan Government: We are falling behind Winnipeg! And falling behind Winnipeg in anything but interfamily marriages is completely unacceptable.

- Adriano Belli has been suspended for the first game of the 2010 season following an incident that occurred back in November before a game against the Als. People are questioning why it took the league so long to publicly announce this suspension. My theory is that Commissioner Cohon just assumed that Belli would appeal the suspension to an arbitrator who would overturn the suspension, as happens with all CFL suspensions, so they just didn’t bother announcing it. The league was just caught off guard when this didn’t happen.

CFL Ins and Outs

… yet again I can’t think of anything relevant or coherent.


In: DL Yahia Dalloul (free agent signing)


Out: LB Shannon James, RB Demetris Summers (released)


In: RB Eric Lee (free agent signing)


In: DL Remond Willis, WR Kenny Strickland, LB Henti Baird, DL Deji Oduwole, DB Jerry-Ralph Jules (free agent signing)